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From the world's biggest rock performance to free parties, these are the experiences you won't want to miss. 

February 22, 2017

Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, offering visitors and locals alike an array of free and unforgettable experiences to choose from.

Whether you’re looking to get out in nature, see larger-than-life art displays, or enjoy some of the country’s top delicacies, here are some of the best ways to celebrate the occasion.  

See a Movie at the National Canadian Film Day 150

Catch a flick at the National Canadian Film Day 150, a huge one-day celebration of the country’s cinematic bests taking place on April 19 throughout Canada. On this day, top Canadian movies will be available to watch on T.V., online, at over 800 cinema screenings, and at locations like libraries and public squares. The event claims it will be the “largest film festival in the world," with 150 films to choose from. 

Check out the New Toronto Light Fest

The Toronto Light Fest is bringing some illumination to the dreary winter months with a new art installation featuring lit up sculptures that look as though they’re floating in the sky. The bright exhibit is turning the streets of Toronto's Distillery Historic District, which has the largest collection of Victorian-era industrial architecture in the world, into a breathtaking open air gallery from January 27 through March 12.

Courtesy of Thane Lucas/Toronto Light Festival

​​​​Take Part in Ignite 150

Throughout the year, Ottawa will be hosting Ignite 150, a series of 17 epic stunts and events that include everything from yoga sessions on a barge floating down the local waterway to 4-D movie viewings on terrace rooftops. Besides scheduled events like the Sugar Lumberfest on April 8—a huge sugar shack where you can try delicacies like baked beans and maple syrup straight from the tree—the series will also include pop-up illumination displays. 

Listen to Prime Tunes at the World's Biggest Jazz Festival 

The Festival International de Jazz de Montreal in Quebec is the world’s largest, drawing in 1,913,868 people during its 25th anniversary in July 2004, according to Guinness World Records. The festival, taking place June 29 to July 9 of this year, is composed of hundreds of concerts.

Explore the Country's Biggest Garden and Flower Festival 

Canada Blooms, Canada’s largest garden and flower festival, is known for the intricate flower displays and massive garden exhibitions it puts together in Toronto. This year, the theme for the event, taking place March 10 to 19, will be “Oh! Canada,” taking viewers on a visual journey through the country that includes floral displays representing different parts of Canada and gardens that are as big as 4,000 square feet. 

Courtesy of David Ohashi/Canada Blooms

Celebrate the Confederation at Its Birthplace 

The city of Charlottetown, the birthplace of the Confederation in Prince Edward Island, will be hosting a free 10-hour concert on Canada Day to showcase the area’s musical performers, from jazz to rock. Special touches like a massive birthday cake and a dazzling fireworks display add to the fun. 

Find Art Inspiration at the Canada 150 Mosaic Mural 

The Canada 150 project from Mural Mosaic will be compromised of 150 murals that can interconnect to form a giant mural of a train traveling through Canada from coast to coast. Throughout the year, art lovers will find murals across Canada, from Vancouver to Prince Edward Island, produced by locals in each community. The murals can be as big as eight feet by 40 feet and are made up of hundreds of painted tiles. 

Courtesy of Mural Mosaic

Visit a National Park For Free

In honor of the country’s birthday, Canada is offering free admission to all of its national parks, marine conservation areas, and historic sites throughout 2017. That means you can explore Banff National Park, the country’s first national park, or Wapusk National Park, home to one of the world’s largest known polar bear maternity denning areas, free of charge.  

Head to the Biggest Canada Day Celebration

Canada will be celebrating its birthday, also known as Canada Day, across the country on July 1, but the biggest event will take place in Ottawa. The party on the lawns of Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill, and the Canadian Museum of History includes concerts, artistic performances, and free activities throughout the area’s national museums and institutions. There will also be a large fireworks display at the end of the night.

Attend a Performance By the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Get to know Canada's musical legacy with Canada Mosaic, a national celebration of the country's music landscape that will include more than 40 different orchestras and more than 45 concerts throughout the year. The performances will take viewers through past composers and current artists, with works by partner orchestras from each of the Canadian provinces. 

Glide on the World's Biggest Skating Rink

Every winter, Ottawa's historic Rideau Canal becomes the world’s largest skating rink, offering visitors some 4.8 miles of skating terrain from Ottawa’s downtown to Dows Lake. The skating territory is bigger than 90 Olympic-sized hockey rinks, according to Ottawa Tourism. There are heated changing huts, hot chocolate stands, soup stands, and stands offering BeaverTails, a deep-friend pastry dusted with cinnamon and sugar, along the way to keep you warm. 

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

See a Collection of 40 Tall Ships Sailing

In celebration of the 150th, roughly 40 tall ships will sail on Canada’s waters and come to port in various coastal cities throughout Quebec, Ontario, and the Maritimes from June 29 to August 20. Visitors can take free ship tours and engage in dockside activities throughout. 

Be a Kid Again at Canada's New Biggest Playground

On Canada Day, Sinking Ship Entertainment's show, "Giver," which follows children as they design their own playgrounds, will host the grand opening of Canada's largest playground in Ottawa. The 50,000-square-foot play space, which has been designed by local kids, is shaped like the map of Canada, with areas that represent each province and territory incorporating local themes, like farming, into the mix. The organization will also host a fundraiser to build what will be the world's longest monkey bars for the occasion. 

Soak in the Views from the Capilano Suspension Bridge

The Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver is an ideal way to spend an afternoon as you cross over soaring evergreens to catch views some 110 feet above the forest floor. The area’s Cliffwalk follows along the Capilano River, with a series of maze-like narrow bridges, stairs, and platforms to make you feel like you’re maneuvering through your own forest adventure. 

Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket/Getty Images

Explore the Cabot Trail 

For a more relaxing way to explore Canada's dramatic scenery, try the Cabot Trail, a scenic drive that takes you through the greater part of Nova Scotia. Along the way, you'll see mesmerizing coastal views and highland scenery and can engage in hikes that lead you to unforgettable sites, like the Skyline Sunset Hike, which weaves hikers through the top of a mountain headland to a spectacular panoramic view overlooking the trail and the ocean at sunset. 

Join the World's Biggest Live Rock Performance

Canada Rocks 150 is looking to create what will be the world’s largest live rock performance in anticipation of Canada Day in Toronto. The company is currently calling musicians and rock lovers from around the world to join in on helping them set a new Guinness World Record for the summer event, with a total expected number of some 1,500 performers that will play four Canadian classics.   

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